Stockton-on-Tees Libraries have been running the Stockton Children's Book of the Year for twenty years now. They are putting on a celebration, over the weekend of 24th and 25th March, 2018, to mark this achievment. Authors whose books have won the award over the past two decades have been asked if they'd like to take part in the anniversary event, As a proud former winner myself, with The House of Eyes in 2003, I will be among those authors heading for Stockton in March.
The 2003 shortlisted authors are depicted on the front cover of a booklet containing reviews written by participants in that year's Book Review of the Year Award. We five authors appear as if viewed through a red mist, which I rather like. The shortlist that year was (see below, anti-clockwise from centre) Sally Prue, Geraldine McCaughrean, Debi Gliori, Michael Malloy and myself.
There are some big hitters on that list, and when I'm described in the text as being "stunned" when my book was announced as the winner, I have to say that was pretty accurate. There are some good book reviews in the booklet, and on the back page there's a compilation of comments and suggestions, left anonymously by the participants, which includes the following unique proposal;
"I think the authors should have a wrestling match before the Ceremony. So it is a fair test."
Luckily for me, this suggestion was not taken up by the Stockton Children's Book of the Year in 2003. If it had been I really have no idea who would have won.